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Nursery and primary education

The Brussels-Capital Region has an extensive range of nurseries and primary schools, teaching in French and in Dutch. There are also a number of international schools, as well as language-immersion schools.
Nursery and primary education together is known as basic education in Belgium. Nursery education – which is not compulsory – is open to children aged two and a half to six years old. Primary education is compulsory for all children aged six to twelve years old.

Nursery education

In Brussels nursery education is open to children aged 2,5 to 6 years old. It is not compulsory, but it does help with socialisation and in some cases it helps identify some disabilities in children before they arrive at primary school.

Primary education

Primary education is obligatory for children aged 6 to 12 years old. It comprises six years of study and chiefly focuses on reading and arithmetic. The successful conclusion of primary education is marked by the "certificat d'études de base (FR)" (CEB, certificate of basic studies) in the French Community and by the "getuigschrift-basisonderwijs (NL)" (certificate of basic education) in the Flemish Community. Holders of these certificates are permitted to enter secondary education.

Immersion learning in a foreign language

Some nursery and primary schools participate in a language-immersion programme, under which some courses (non-language courses) are taught in another language.

Children start learning by immersion:

  • in the third year of nursery education or the first year of primary education, or
  • in the third year of primary education. The list of schools offering language-immersion learning (FR) in the French Community is available from www.enseignement.be.


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